Freedom Over Texas Eleanor Tinsley Park & Sam Houston Park, July 4
Now in its 28th year as the City of Houston's official star-spangled salute to the good ol' U.S. of A., Freedom Over Texas is speaking with a noticeable country twang this year. Featuring four stages and numerous other "zones" spread out between Eleanor Tinsley and Sam Houston Parks, FOT has no shortage of things to do. Over at the Walmart All-American Kids Stage alone, there will be magicians, stilt-walkers and hip-hop dance crews, among other things.
But if music is more your thing, leading the parade is Sugarland lead singer Jennifer Nettles, taking a solo trip behind this year's Rick Rubin-produced album That Girl. Also scheduled to appear are Claire Bowen and Chip Esten (watch for our interview later), co-stars of ABC's Music City drama Nashville, both in and out of character; plus rockin' ex-Houstonians the John Evans Band, Texas country singer Jason Allen, zydeco movers Chris Ardoin and Nustep, and a local revue called "Original Legends of the Blues." And, lest we forget, fireworks. Always fireworks. See the map below and freedomovertexas.org for further details. CHRIS GRAY
Tony! Toni! Tone!, K-Ci & Jo-Jo Arena Theatre, July 4
Probably the two biggest male groups in early-'90s R&B (give or take a Boyz II Men or Bell Biv DeVoe or two), both Tony! Toni! Tone! and Jodeci have plenty of fans more than two decades later. Both groups could switch between steamy dance-floor jams and silky-smooth bedroom ballads with ease, leaving a host of songs that could induce screams and fainting spells aplenty Friday: "Little Walter," "Stay," "Come," "Feels Good," "If I Had No Loot," Feenin'," Anniversary," "Love U For Life," and lots more.
Once Jodeci folded in in the mid-'90s, K-Ci & Jo added plenty more hits ("All My Life," "Tell Me It's Real"), but since news broke a few months ago that a reunion album is in the works, anticipation for this Independence Day doubleheader should be especially intense. CHRIS GRAY
Grace Note Benefit Continental Club, July 5
According to the Houston Coalition For the Homeless, an estimated 6,300 people are homeless in the greater Houston area, enough of them under age 18 to create a need for organizations like Montrose Grace Place. Founded in 2009 by Grace Lutheran Church, the volunteer-staffed nonprofit provides shelter and a weekly night offering dinner, group discussion and a supply closet stocked with basic clothing and toiletries.
But a program like that takes money, of course, so this Saturday 13 Houston acts will gather at the Continental Club and Big Top to help keep it going. Scheduled to appear are Project Armageddon, Chase Hamblin & the Roustabouts, the Wheel Workers, Robin Kirby, BLSHS, Devil Killing Moth, Only Beast, Nathan Quick, Giant Kitty, Charity Ann, Brunson Theater, the Genuine Snake Oil Band and Tan Dragon Clan. Cover is $10; see this link gracelutheran-houston.org/p/grace-place.html for further details, and watch for a separate article on the benefit elsewhere on Rocks Off today. CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.
SEVEN MORE SHOWS WORTH CONSIDERING
Classic Numbers: Retro plus videos, free with military ID all night. Happy birthday, U.S.A.! (Numbers, July 4)
P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S.: Portland hardore chargers feature ex-members of Poison Idea, Pierced Arrows, others. (Walters, July 4)
Paul Oakenfold: Liberty and justice for all, with one of the world's top DJs. (Stereo Live, July 5)
rePlay: Chiptune puts on a tux as the Houston Symphony narrates Joseph Campbell's "hero's journey" uber-myth via the music of Final Fantasy, Portal, Halo, and lots more. (Jones Hall, July 5)
Z-Ro: The Mo City Don is back in vintage form on brand-new LP The Crown. (Fitzgerald's, July 5)
Cyber Wasteland: Brought to you in part by Underworld, Combichrist and Covenant head up an evening of the coldest, most mechanized industrial, goth and EBM you can imagine. (Numbers, July 5)
Sheena Easton: Scottish pop singer has quite the range, from hit Kenny Rogers duet "We've Got Tonight" to Bond theme "For Your Eyes Only" and near-pornographic Prince ghostwrite "Sugar Walls." (Dosey Doe, July 5)
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